The Monster Squad

The last three days have been a whirlwind of screening delight at the second Sydney Monster Fest . From 7 pm on Friday, 9 March 2018, night until 11 pm on Sunday, 11 March 2018, Monster Fest screened a total of twelve films, and of those twelve, two were short films.

Unfortunately, there were two films I could not attend due to time restraints. These were Stefan Ruzowitzky’s Cold Hell (a German thriller about a woman in hiding following witnessing a murder) and Luke Shanahan’s Rabbit (noted as a strong, well driven Australian thriller surrounding the disappearance of a girl’s sister). Next year I shall be clearing my schedule to attend all of the screenings available as both, I felt, offered so many possibilities as a film fan, and I did want to see them.

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 01

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 1 of 3

At Monster Fest, Australia served up some more homegrown horror with the two shorts Edward and Melissa LyonsAlfred J Hemlock (an impressive revamping of the better the devil you know style dealings with a hilariously lovable comedic twist- that kick-started the festival ahead of the opening screening) and Ren Thackham’s and Fliss Keep’s Tightly Ground ( a boring and rather overindulgent hipster attempt at satire with a bit of murder thrown in). As well as the films like Steven Spiel’s superb Living Space (an awesome time looping thriller featuring some pure moments of amazement – including a human swastika!), Daniel Armstrong’s Tarnation (which despite an impressively campy premise was ultimately an abysmal film featuring a group of annoyingly bad actors facing perils of obscure concepts – penis bugs, demonic unicorns and zombie kangaroos all sound great but if executed poorly are not as fun as hoped), and the standout Mystery Movie that ended the festival Chris Sun’s desperately anticipated BOAR.

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 02

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 2 of 3

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 03

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 3 of 3

BOAR is a beast of a film all of its own which features a huge quality bag full of lovable Australian larrikin humor, great creature effects and a cast of likable and deliberately unlikeable characters. Switching from the douchebag boyfriend Robert (played so well by Hugh Sheridan), to the hulking gentle giant uncle Bernie (played adorably by Nathan Jones) and even familiar faces such as John Jarratt, Bill Moseley, and even Steve Bisley, Sun has his star-studded cast guide this film superbly through the sentimental, the comedic and the terrifying!

From the USA, Monster Fest secured screenings of Johannes Roberts’ The Strangers 2: Prey at Night (which for me knocks the original out of the picture through its musically rich murderous antics and opened the festival with a bang alongside Alfred J Hemlock), the 1987 classic Fred Dekker film The Monster Squad (I had never seen this and am a huge lover of it now!!!!) , and  their 4K restoration screening of the classic George. A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (crisper clear quality without losing the original film’s awesomeness).

Canada served up Adam MacDonald’s Pyewacket, an impressive occult themed film about the suffering that follows a loss. It starred The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden and Vancouver actress Nicole Munoz (both dove deep to create likable and unlikeable aspects to their tortured characters).

Lastly, from Turkey came the Can Evrenol film Housewife, an inexplainable romp into the insanity that it displays thoroughly throughout. With dream realms, surreal ongoing and a beginning classic to any horror film, you will not be let down by this film. Brilliant!!

All in all, Monster Fest was a thoroughly amazing viewing experience and I cannot wait for any further screenings throughout the year or events like this one. I will be there!

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY OF  MONSTER FEST SYDNEY 2018

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY OF MONSTER FEST SYDNEY 2018

The last three days have been a whirlwind of screening delight at the second Sydney Monster Fest . From 7 pm on Friday, 9 March 2018, night until 11 pm on Sunday, 11 March 2018, Monster Fest screened a total of twelve films, and of those twelve, two were short films.

Unfortunately, there were two films I could not attend due to time restraints. These were Stefan Ruzowitzky’s Cold Hell (a German thriller about a woman in hiding following witnessing a murder) and Luke Shanahan’s Rabbit (noted as a strong, well driven Australian thriller surrounding the disappearance of a girl’s sister). Next year I shall be clearing my schedule to attend all of the screenings available as both, I felt, offered so many possibilities as a film fan, and I did want to see them.

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 01

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 1 of 3

At Monster Fest, Australia served up some more homegrown horror with the two shorts Edward and Melissa LyonsAlfred J Hemlock (an impressive revamping of the better the devil you know style dealings with a hilariously lovable comedic twist- that kick-started the festival ahead of the opening screening) and Ren Thackham’s and Fliss Keep’s Tightly Ground ( a boring and rather overindulgent hipster attempt at satire with a bit of murder thrown in). As well as the films like Steven Spiel’s superb Living Space (an awesome time looping thriller featuring some pure moments of amazement – including a human swastika!), Daniel Armstrong’s Tarnation (which despite an impressively campy premise was ultimately an abysmal film featuring a group of annoyingly bad actors facing perils of obscure concepts – penis bugs, demonic unicorns and zombie kangaroos all sound great but if executed poorly are not as fun as hoped), and the standout Mystery Movie that ended the festival Chris Sun’s desperately anticipated BOAR.

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 02

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 2 of 3

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 03

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 3 of 3

BOAR is a beast of a film all of its own which features a huge quality bag full of lovable Australian larrikin humor, great creature effects and a cast of likable and deliberately unlikeable characters. Switching from the douchebag boyfriend Robert (played so well by Hugh Sheridan), to the hulking gentle giant uncle Bernie (played adorably by Nathan Jones) and even familiar faces such as John Jarratt, Bill Moseley, and even Steve Bisley, Sun has his star-studded cast guide this film superbly through the sentimental, the comedic and the terrifying!

From the USA, Monster Fest secured screenings of Johannes Roberts’ The Strangers 2: Prey at Night (which for me knocks the original out of the picture through its musically rich murderous antics and opened the festival with a bang alongside Alfred J Hemlock), the 1987 classic Fred Dekker film The Monster Squad (I had never seen this and am a huge lover of it now!!!!) , and  their 4K restoration screening of the classic George. A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (crisper clear quality without losing the original film’s awesomeness).

Canada served up Adam MacDonald’s Pyewacket, an impressive occult themed film about the suffering that follows a loss. It starred The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden and Vancouver actress Nicole Munoz (both dove deep to create likable and unlikeable aspects to their tortured characters).

Lastly, from Turkey came the Can Evrenol film Housewife, an inexplainable romp into the insanity that it displays thoroughly throughout. With dream realms, surreal ongoing and a beginning classic to any horror film, you will not be let down by this film. Brilliant!!

All in all, Monster Fest was a thoroughly amazing viewing experience and I cannot wait for any further screenings throughout the year or events like this one. I will be there!


Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in EVENT REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
BEWARE AS MONSTERFEST APPROACHES!

BEWARE AS MONSTERFEST APPROACHES!

In a couple of days, the MONSTERFEST Travelling Sideshow will hit Sydney Australia, beginning the Australian run of early year premieres and film screenings with Q & A sessions.

This year’s screening list varies from new to old, funny to horrifying and even local to foreign horror.

The MONSTERFEST Travelling Sideshow is held at the Event Cinemas, 505- 525 George Street, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

The screenings will occur over three days beginning in the evening on Friday, the 9th of March, and finishing with the final screening at 9:30 pm on Sunday, the 11th of March.

The screening list is as follows:

FRIDAY, 9 MARCH 2018

7:00 pm — The Strangers Prey At Night

MonsterFest - The Strangers: Prey at NightThis is the Australian premiere of the American film The Strangers Prey At Night and it will screen hours before the official international release of the film. Before the film screens, patrons will also get the chance to view the Australian horror comedy short Alfred J Hemlock.

930 pm — Pyewacket

MonsterFest - PyewacketThis is the Sydney Premiere of the Canadian horror thriller occult independent film Pyewacket , featuring former The Walking Dead star Laurie Holden.

SATURDAY, 10 MARCH 2018

2:30 pm — The Monster Squad

MonsterFest - The Monster SquadThis will be a screening event of the classic 1987 family-friendly action horror comedy film The Monster Squad.

4:30 pm — Night of The Living Dead (4K Restoration)

MonsterFest - Night of the Living DeadThis is the World Premiere of this 1968 George.A.Romero zombie classic since it has had a 4K restoration and will be crisply screened for MONSTERFEST patrons.

7:00 pm — Living Space

MONSTERFEST proudly presents not only the World premiere of the Australian independent horror film Living Space but also MONSTERFEST will be hosting a Q & A session at the event with writer/director Steven Spiel, producer Natalie Forward, Cinematographer Branco Grabovac and stars Emma Leonard, Georgia Chara, and Leigh Scully.

9:30 pm — Rabbit

Vendetta films presents the Sydney Premiere of Rabbit, an independent Australian horror film and will be including a Q & A session with writer/ director Luke Shanahan and producer David Ngo.

SUNDAY, 11 MARCH 2018

2:15 pm –Tarnation

MonsterFest - TarnationAnother Australian film’s Sydney Premiere, Tarnation, is presented by Monster Pictures and features a crossbow-wielding paraplegic, possessed cultists, penis bugs, a demonic unicorn, and a zombie kangaroo. This screening will also be shown with a short 7-minute film called Tightly Ground which will also be making its Sydney debut.

4:30 pm — Housewife

This fresh slice of Turkish horror called Housewife is set to get Australian horror friends talking with it joining the MONSTERFEST line up for its Sydney premiere.

7:00 pm — Cold Hell

Also stepping onto the line up will be the Sydney premiere of the German horror film Cold Hell.

9:15 pm — ???????Mystery Screening???????

This screening is a mystery to all who attend and will not be announced until just before the film hits the screen at its Sydney premiere. All patrons know is that it is an Australian creature feature and will have an amazing bevy of local talent within it.

Speculation is that it will be Chris Sun’s Boar finally making its way to Sydney (only having screened once at its world premiere in Melbourne at MONSTERFEST’s Opening Night Gala in November). Fans are very hopeful…and so am I!

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in COMING SOON, EVENTS, HORROR NEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Top Family Horror to Watch in October (Part 1)

Top Family Horror to Watch in October (Part 1)

Part of the House of Tortured Souls
Staff Picks for October 2016

By John Roisland

In keeping with the spirit of our Halloween staff picks. I thought to myself, why not FAMILY HORROR? I offer to you my personal list of family horror movies that are age appropriate and can be shared and enjoyed by the entire family. Now there may not be any chainsaw-wielding maniacs and won't be much gruesome gore and blood, this is for the family. But it's Halloween and we should be teaching our kids at a young age about the beauty of Halloween and introducing them to the world of horror that we all love and adore.

So yes ,there are children's horror movies out there that I do enjoy.

Please do yourself a favor, no matter what age your kids are: open your minds, sit down with the family, and show them a few family horror movies. Introduce them to and share with them the love you have for Halloween!

NOTE: This is simply a list and not in any particular order.

The Addams Family (1991) and
Addams Family Values (1993)


The Addams Family and Addams Family Values films, in my opinion, could not have been any more perfect. Whether or not you are a fan of the old TV show, the films hold true to their dark ways of life while yet still being quirky and always lovable. The cast alone is jaw dropping , and gives performances by Anjelica Houston and the late Raul Julia that are near Oscar-worthy.

Monster House (2006)


This little animated gem is one that I rented for my kids and ended up loving more than they did. The film, at points, almost has a bit of a scary feel in it for the youngest of viewers, but is one heck of a film that can be watched over and over again.

Hotel Transylvania (2012) and Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)


It's rare to have a sequel be as good as the first, especially after the likes of the Addams Family films, but Adam Sandler and his usual on-screen buddies pulled it off not once but twice. These two are both laugh out loud horror themed love for the entire family.

Casper (1995)



Casper, starring Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci, takes off where the old stories left us and tells the story about a young friendly ghost named Casper who befriends young Kat (Ricci) and her father (Pullman) as they move into their new home. Said new home is, naturally, haunted but by the friendly ghost.

Coraline (2009)


Coraline is an animated film not quite like any you've ever seen. Coraline, while a family horror, is rather dark and maybe a bit much for some of the younger crowds. Coraline is the story of an adventurous girl who finds another world that is a strangely similar of her frustrating home life, but it has sinister secrets. Stars Dakota Fanning and Terri Hatcher.

The Monster Squad (1987)


This film is a classic family horror. This late 80s B-film captures the spirit of being a pre-teen with an imagination. The film is based around a group of young friends who join forces to fight off monsters that are terrorizing their town, thus forming The Monster Squad!

ParaNorman (2012)


ParaNorman is the story of young Norman, who, while being an avid horror fan, develops a sixth sense and is able to see and communicate with the dead. It is because of his gift that he must help save his town from a historic curse that are bringing many dead back to haunt his community.

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)


For years now, Tim Burton has been amazing movie goers across the world with his dark yet magical films. The Nightmare Before Christmas is truly that. While part musical, the film pulls you into a world like nothing you've ever seen. The story is of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King in his land of Halloween Town, who finds a magical door that has him trade places with... Santa Claus, the king of Christmas Town. This film is a pure delight for everyone!

The Witches (1990)


The Witches, starring Anjelica Houston, is a very dark Jim Henson Production. This is the story of a young British boy, who stumbles into the wrong conference room in the hotel where his family staying while on vacation. The room appears to be full of normal women, but they all turn out to be child-hating witches, who want to rid the world of all kids by turning them into mice! This may be a bit slow and scary for younger viewers. Discretion is advised.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)


It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is probably my go to family horror! I have been watching this Charles Schulz holiday classic for as long back as I can remember. Made in 1966 (even before my time), Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang take you on a fun-filled night of trick or treating and waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive and bring toys to all the children.

Pure family fun!

Disney's The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)


I lastly bring you a Disney film. Most of you who know me will know that I truly hate Disney! But this, the story of Ichabod Crane and The Headless Horseman, is my all time favorite story! Of all books and stories I have read, this is my top tale. While there have been many of versions made, this is one I present to you for family horror, and, all things aside, Walt and the boys brought forth a rather enjoyable representation holding true to the story line!

So if you have children, teach them well and share your love with them. If you don't have any, then maybe watch a few I've listed here for you, and let these films take you back to when you were a child and Halloween was magical!

Happy Halloween!

Keep It Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in FAMILY HORROR, STAFF PICKS, 2 comments

STAFF PICKS: FAMILY HORROR

By John Roisland

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Remember the old saying " it all starts in the home"? Well it's true, and what we teach our kids at home is what will shape them into the adult we hope they will become. Such simple life lessons as hygiene , manners, and horror!! Tired of seeing your little angels do nothing but take selfies, watch videos on YouTube, and play bad video games like Mindcrap? They are growing up so fast, and nothing you try to do with them ever works, because you're an adult...you're a parent...you're a giant nerd- bucket to them!

Well fear not! This Halloween season I've personally made a list of movies (my Family Horror list) that you can all sit down and enjoy together! Family safe, and will still help mold these little bastards into the horror loving freaks that we all are!! But parents...I know what you're thinking ...and no. I'm not going to make you watch Smurf's Halloween special or any shit like that. If I wouldn't sit through it, I'm not going to suggest you do either! To hell with that!

Now I've compiled  this list from my own viewing with my own kids. They're not really in order, but let's just say they would be my top 10 family Halloween movies.

GHOSTBUSTERS – Made in 1984 and starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis as three scientists who open a ghostbusting company in the heart of  New York. It's total chaos, and tons of fun!

imagesT381IKIM

Casper – This 1995 film was inspired by the original 1930s cartoon series and stars Bill Pullman as a single father and a young Christina Ricci as his daughter. The two move into an old, abandoned house and soon learn that they are not alone.imagesRTSSF0GE

Monster House – 2006 film about three young kids who believe the house across the street from them is haunted. On Halloween night, the three decide to take matters into their own hands. Stars Steve Buscemi, Mitchel Musso, Catherine O'Hara, and Fred Willard.  This, by the way, is also one of my favorite films!

Monster House

The Addams Family – 1991 film based on the classic 1960s  TV series. In The Addams Family, the Addams family fortune is in danger of being taken by an Addams impostor. This film is awesome, an all around well done production! It stars Angelica Houston, Christopher Lloyd, and the late Raul Julia.

imagesB91AXFO8

Igor – This 2008 animated film focuses on Igor, the mad scientist's assistant, who aspires to be a scientist himself! Stars John Cusack , Molly Shannon, and Steve Buscemi .

Igor

Hotel Transylvania – 2012 animated film of a castle turned into a hotel. A hotel for monsters! All is in jeopardy when a human boy  stolls through the door and falls for Dracula's daughter! Stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Andy Sandberg, and Selena Gomez.

Hotel-Transylvania-Movie-Poster

The Witches – 1990 Disney film that actually got a lot of bad press (I, for one, was fine with it. I hate Disney, but love this film... Hmmm) for being "too violent "and scaring kids in the theaters. I will admit The Witches isn't a typical happy-go-lucky Disney film; there actually is a dark feel to the film. It stars Angelica Houston as the Supreme Witch who is hosting a conference with other witches to rid the lands of all young boys and girls.

the-witches-5

The Monster Squad – 1987 film about a group of young middle school boys who join forces to rid the town of the monsters that have been taking over! Stars Andre Gower and Tom Noonan. "Wolfman's got 'nards!"

The-Monster-Squad-movie-poster

ParaNorman – 2012 animated film about young Norman who has a gift to see the dead. This gift comes into play fast as the town soon becomes overrun by an evil that is bringing the dead back to life. Stars Kodi Smit-McPhee and Casey Affleck.

images4Y3XTHKO

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – No Halloween list of family favorites could be complete without this 1966 Charles M. Shultz classic. While Snoopy braves The War and the Peanuts gang go door-to-door trick-or-treating, Linus and Sally await the arrival of The Great Pumpkin in the middle of the most sincere pumpkin patch!

its-a-great-pumpkin-charlie-brown-movie-poster-1966-1020427391

So... grab some popcorn, plug the iPhones in to charge, and plant yourself next to your kids for a few hours of Halloween family entertainment! From our family to yours, Happy Halloween!!!

imagesU2B07DBU

Posted by John Roisland in STAFF PICKS, 0 comments